Thursday, July 11, 2013

A World of Sound

Folk Music

“Yes, how many ears must one
man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take 

till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin'

in the wind.”

-“Blowin’ In The Wind” Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, and others.

American folk music is filled with easy-to-relate-to songs that often later became anthems for issues of social justice and more.  The beauty of folk music is thatwhile  it doesn’t have a distinct origin like more traditional orchestral music, it does tell a story that is timeless about values the culture holds dear.

Some folk songs are so old they can be considered oral histories, but the term “folk music” (which literally means music of the people) was invented in the early 19th century. By the 20th century “folk music” which is also referred to as “American roots music” was used to describe the music made by relatively isolated white Europeans. As history developed and the country faced many hardships, the genre of folk music expanded to include blues, gospel, country, and Native American pow-wow.

“American roots music draws on the lived experience of ordinary men and women, who were and often still are defined and limited by cultural constructions of race, class and gender. Just as music reflects how Americans have struggled against oppressive social and economic conditions, music is also a means of celebrating and giving dignity to identity.”-PBS.

While many songs were calling attention to injustice, there are many folk songs that describe the beauty of life, and the most popular: love. Some of the “happier” folk music can include childhood favorites such as “Clap Your Hands!”, “B-I-N-G-O”, and “The Ants Go Marching”. It can be difficult to identify a folk song by distinct characteristics but there are a few that are common among most folk songs:
  • They have been performed throughout countless generations-and even change with the times. Ever heard a little girl sing a familiar tune but the lyrics aren’t what you remember? That’s why.
  • The music relates to a national perspective-whether it be regional or cultural.
  • They commemorate a historical or personal event.











































































































































































































































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